Weekend Project: Large Compost Bin

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Last spring I wrote about my method of composting in my cheap and easy compost bin. That method of composting worked very well for me during my first several years of gardening. Last summer I made my wire bin 3 times larger and I liked this size much better. It was easier to turn, it allowed me to compost way more stuff, and it seemed to generate the black gold much faster.

Large wire compost bin

But I didn’t like that it’s open and looks messy, especially in the spring right after the snow melts. I also noticed that a raccoon was invading my bin at night, and I want to keep those critters away.

Plus now that I’ve gotten the hang of composting and I am passionate about it, I’m ready to invest in an upgrade! I wanted a large, enclosed bin with a top, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money to buy one.

My husband was excited to try building one for me, so he did some research and found the plans for this bin…

Framing up the compost bin

I loved the idea of building one, that way I could customize it any way I wanted. One major change we decided to make in the design was to put on three tops instead of one, and to use mesh fencing for the tops rather than fiberglass. I also chose to add clasps to the tops so I can secure them and keep critters out.

Last weekend, It was rainy and cold so we decided to build the bin. It took a LOT of lumber and is WAY larger than I expected it would be. It looked huge in the garage and I was nervous that it was too big.

Added the wire to the bin compartments

But, now that we’ve moved it out to the garden, it doesn’t look as huge. The footprint of this new bin is almost exactly the same as my wire bin last year, but it’s much taller. I love this new bin, it has three compartments for the various stages of compost.

Compost bins removable front slates

The front slates are removable for easy turning and removing of the compost. The slates also hide the compost from site, so it looks much cleaner. Now I can compost pretty much everything, including yard and kitchen waste.

Compost bin in the garden

Heck, I might not even need a yard waste bin anymore (which will save me $70/year). By the time we complete this bin, it will the cost will be about $150.00 (I haven’t added up the exact cost yet).

As I have mentioned several times before, I am cheap. It was hard to swallow spending this kind of money on a compost bin.

Compost bin almost complete (two tops to go)

But if I can get rid of my yard waste bin, it will pay for my new compost bin in less than two years. Plus, after pricing retail compost bins, I would never have gotten anything close to this size for this price.

It’s a MAJOR upgrade from my previous bins. By the way, the compost that half filled my old wire bin (first picture) only filled one compartment of my new bin half way! Wow!!

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  1. says


    Our compost bin is only the size of one of your compartments, but we haven't managed to overflow it yet. I just keep using it as fast as it's ready!

    Even though we don't have a yard waste bin, it has saved us money though, we keep putting off getting a garbage disposal since we use most of what would go down the drain anyways.

  2. says

    Thanks Kim!

    Michael – Thanks! I use compost as fast as it's ready too, or at least I try to. I hope that by rotating my bins, I'll have larger amounts of compost to use in the fall and spring. I hear you about the garbage disposal. We hardly ever use ours either.


  3. says

    Hi Cherie! If you want to start with something easy, start with a wire bin. If you want a lid, just build a simple box that opens on one side and try that out. I started with the wire bin to try it out too. Good luck!


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